President Donald Trump’s libertarian-leaning nominee to chair the Export-Import Bank, former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), has been rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Banking Committee.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Garrett was a close associate of former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and a member of the Freedom Caucus and the Liberty Caucus. He voted against the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, delivering a scathing critique of the institution on the House floor, and condemning it as a “corruption of the free enterprise system”.
His staunch opposition to corporate welfare led to conflict with special interests who benefit substantially from the low interest loans doled out by the Export-Import Bank. These interests successfully defeated Garrett during his 2016 re-election attempt by pumping funds into his Democratic opponent, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (R-NJ), and have now used their sway over members of the Senate to tank his bid for the chair of the Ex-Im Bank.
Garrett’s nomination was opposed by all Democrats on the committee, as well as two Republicans, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD). Scott was likely influenced by the impact a Garrett’s chairmanship of the Bank would have on Boeing, which has its assembly site in South Carolina. Due to the volume of aircraft it exports, Boeing is a massive beneficiary of the Bank. Rounds’ vote was likely swayed by Citibank, which has its corporate headquarters in South Dakota and was a major contributor to Rounds’ election campaigns. Citibank exploits Ex-Im’s guaranteed financing to foreign buyers of American goods to make money at the expense of the taxpayer.
“He’s a principled man who simply believes in the abolishment of the bank,” Rounds said, perhaps admitting to his own lack of principle.
With Garrett’s nomination tanked, it is likely President Trump will be forced to choose a new nominee whose record is more favorable to the Washington swamp.
“We are disappointed that the Senate Banking Committee missed this opportunity to get the Export-Import Bank fully functioning again,” White House legislative director Marc Short stated in response to the dismaying news. “We will continue to work with the committee on a path forward.”